Any business owner looking for success online needs to spare a little thought to SEO.
Of course, SEO comes in different shapes and sizes, from text to the use of pictures. It’s also the reason that countless businesses now turn to SEO tools like meta descriptions and blog posts to sell their products or services. And, to use those basic tools to their maximum benefit, most business owners use keywords.
Keywords are the words Google uses to determine your relevance to any given search. Getting this right can boost your ranking and increase search traffic. But Google isn’t foolish. They’ll know if you’re using blanket keywords for the sake of improving your standing.
Instead, then, you need to develop content which includes informative keywords that offer the best results while staying relevant. And, keyword research is the best way to do that.
What is keyword research and why is it important?
Keyword research is, put simply, the process of finding relevant keywords with guaranteed search volume. Getting this right is about understanding your target audience and also knowing what people are searching for. This then ensures that you can create content with keywords which serve your SEO purposes. That’s vital for ensuring your efforts here actually increase your search ranking and generate more leads.
Getting keyword research right also allows you to focus on a limited set of keywords which enable you to tailor your content without overusing any one word. To take that point even further, it’s worth looking to two subsections of keyword research. These would allow you to boost your ranking with the use of related words instead, and they are:
As anyone who enjoyed English at school will know, semantics refers to the meaning behind words. In this case, it relates to the meaning behind keywords. By understanding the meanings of the words people most often search for, you can then use long-tailed keywords or alternative related words without having to repeat one keyword to an unnatural extent.
Sticking with the language theme, synonyms are words or phrases which have the same meanings as an original word (or keyword, in this case). By researching these, you can again gain the most from your keyword use without creating clumsy content.
Using free SEO keyword tools
Given how vital keyword research is to search success, countless companies are trying to make money from this. In reality, though, there’s no need to spend your budget on this aspect of your content marketing. That’s because there are plenty of top quality free tools out there to help find the SEO keywords that you need. And, by using them, you can enjoy benefits including:
Easy access to free tools
When using free tools, you needn’t worry about setting aside a ‘keyword budget.’ You won’t even have to hold back from getting started while you wait for profits which, by the way, your keyword research would bring. Instead, free tools like these mean that you can get started the second you develop an online presence, ensuring that your website pays for itself from the word go.
Free up content marketing budget
Content marketing can eat up a company’s budget like nothing else. Within this area, you’ll need to spend ample time and money to ensure results. But, the same rules don’t apply for keyword research with these free tools in easy reach. Even better, saving money in this area means that you can pay more attention to things like the actual content, rather than a few keywords used within it.
Up to date analysis
You don’t need us to tell you that the things we search for change every day. As the world becomes more advanced, so too do the keywords which garner results. That would be a problem if you were limited to only affording, say, one keyword research drive a year. But, with free tools in your arsenal, you could review your keyword research regularly to ensure you’re always producing the most relevant content possible.
How to do keyword research
Now that you understand why keyword research matters, it’s time to consider how you can actually go about it. As mentioned, free keyword finders are the best option for achieving this by far. But, before those free tools can be of much use to you, it’s vital that you understand the basic concepts behind how to conduct keyword research. As a general rule, then, you could benefit from remembering the following necessary steps:
- Write down relevant topics based around your product or service
- Use free software to help you find keywords within those general topics
- Conduct research into potential semantic/synonym or head/long tail keywords
- Use search queries to see how your competitors are using keywords
- Put your keyword research into action
The question now is, which free keyword research software could best boost your search engine standing?
1. Google Keyword Planner
Given that keyword research is mainly about impressing Google, it makes sense to start this list with Google’s very own keyword tool, ‘Google Keyword Planner.’ Like all the keyword tools we’re going to look at in this guide, Google’s keyword search tool is 100% free. That said, you will need to pay if you sign up for Google Ads, so be sure to bypass this when you start up to avoid any unnecessary costs later on.
You can access Google Keyword Planner without an Google Ads account, you just need to click the ‘Experience with Google Ads?’ icon underneath the advertising goal request.
Then, opt to create an account without a campaign, and submit without giving your card details. Finally, you should see this screen to let you know that you’re in:
Once you manage to get in without landing yourself a bill, this is actually a pretty handy little keyword research tool. That’s unsurprising considering Google keyword research is sure to be the best out there. They have full access to any search terms they need, after all.
Your keyword planner is easy to access within the planning section of the tool panel on your account, and this is where your keyword research action is going to take place. When you’re up and running, Google Keyword Planner has two main functions, and they are:
As you’ll remember, finding keywords came first on our ‘how to list’, and it should be your first port of call within Google Keyword Planner. Here, you can type up to ten key words at any time.
When you click ‘get started’ Google will then take you to a page of keyword ideas, all based off of regularly used search terms, along with average monthly search rates and competition levels for each.
Get Google search volumes and forecasts
Your next option with this tool involves search volume and forecast. In theory, you should use the keywords which you’ve just found here. That way, you’ll see how many interactions and impressions you can expect to see from the proposed keyword campaign within the next thirty days, all thanks to Google’s good old algorithms. If you take a little look around, this section will even provide you with estimated costs, CTR, and CPC.
And, these are just the basic keyword research uses of a tool like this. A little exploration will also show you that there are plenty of tips and tricks, including getting around the limit of finding ten keywords at a time by simply searching each separately.
Once you get past the Google Ads escapades, then, this free Google keyword tool isn’t all that bad. Of course, some of the technicalities involved could be a little complex for beginners. But, if you have a pretty decent handle on your SEO knowledge already, then this free tool could be ideal for you.
2. Keyword Shitter
If you’re a total newbie to this keyword research game, Keyword Shitter could well be a better option for you.
Aside from a fantastic logo, this tool looks incredibly simplistic compared with Google Keyword Planner. And, we aren’t going to lie; those looks aren’t all that deceptive.
That said, this simplicity could end up being something of a blessing for your campaign. That’s because you don’t need any specialist knowledge to use this option. You literally just need some relevant keywords to input into the search box.
Admittedly, results here aren’t exactly as snappy as you’ll find with other tools out there, but that’s a small price to pay for such ease of use. As you can guess, the only real downside to this option is that it doesn’t provide all the estimations and forecasts which can be invaluable to success.
Other than its basic keyword search, Keyword Shitter only offers positive or negative filters. While these can help you to gain an idea of which keywords would work best, then, detailed exploration would have to wait until your analytics spoke for themselves.
If you want to keep it simple or start small, though, you can’t go far wrong with research tools like these.
3. Answer The Public
Last on this list we have Answer the Public. As you can guess from the title, this is a keyword research tool which focuses on what people are searching for. That’s good news indeed considering that, the more people keywords appeal to, the more successful they are.
Much like the other tools mentioned, Answer the Public allows you to enter key terms. Unlike the other tools mentioned, it displays your results in a rather unique way –
Great aesthetics, right? Sadly, understanding your results when they’re laid out like this can be a little complex. But, fear not. There is also an option to simplify and just straight up display your data.
As you can see, this platform is a little different in that it doesn’t merely display keyword suggestions based on search terms. Instead, the results take the form of the most commonly asked questions or phrases according to search histories.
As such, this is the ideal platform for finding long-tailed keywords or those synonyms and semantics we mentioned at the start of this article. That can make for more organic use of keywords within your content and, ultimately, more chance of matching up with the most popular search terms.
Whether you’re just starting on your search engine optimisation journey or are merely trying to boost your search rankings, then, it’s plain to see that keyword research is a vital part of the process.
If you don’t take care of this, you’ll end up putting a great deal of effort into content which doesn’t land where you want it to be. That would mean no leads looking your way, and no income from the time or effort you put in.
Even if you did attempt to develop a keyword campaign alone, it could see your site slipping down search rankings as you lose relevance. With proper keyword research tools behind you, there’s no risk of that ever happening. That’s because you’ll be able to check out every relevant term to ensure that you’re heading in the right direction.
And, as this guide has shown, there’s no excuse not to get around to this thanks to all the fantastic free options out there.
You’ll be glad to hear, too, that these aren’t the only free offerings on the market. They are, however, some of the most comprehensive keyword tools. Google Keyword Planner is, undeniably, the most extensive free offering, while Keyword Shitter is ideal for beginners.
So, don’t forget to consult with them in the development of your keywords. Your website will soon thank you for it.
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